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Welcome readers to the rebooted peripatetic kiwi blog not only chronicalling the sojurn of myself but also S. this time! We said goodbye to the growing chill in the Netherlands and headed back to parts known, New Zealand. I won’t bore with extraneous detail but it was wonderful to spend Christmas at the family bach (holiday house) for the first time in 6 years. It was family-filled, sunny and we gorged ourselves on excellent fish and chips, craft beer (try Stoke beer) and reunions with old friends.

In key achievements, S., J. and I spent a roasting day slogging our way on a stunning hike in the Bay of Islands to Cape Brett which has been rated as one of New Zealand’s best one day hikes. We collapsed into the lighthousekeeper’s house and admired the sunset from the cliff-face and listened to the seagulls squawking to each other on the cape. We also devoured the so-called best fish and chips in NZ at the Mangonui Fish Shop and swum in the sublime beauty of Matai Bay. Further south in Auckland we hiked up the (probably extinct) island volcano of Rangitoto (35min by ferry from central Auckland) which last erupted 550 years ago… We also swung over to Waiheke island to visit S. and take in the delights of the island suburb of Auckland.

All good things must come to an end and after having spent the best part of a month soaking up NZ, we needed to leave and ‘really’ kick off the trip! We took a long flight direct to Chiang Mai, Thailand and have stayed here undertaking some work on ourselves by attending a three-day workshop on ‘finding your purpose’ (ex-colleagues pay attention!). The days passed more quickly than I had anticipated with a lot of thinking, yoga, meditation and group discussion. It was very intense but S. and I both found it extremely rewarding. More on that in a later post! Immediately afterward we attended a two-day silent meditation retreat outside the city hosted by Buddhist monks. This included a lot of mindfulness meditation techniques as well as ‘ask the monk’ Q&A sessions. Very cool. Lastly we hiked through the jungle for a few hours in 30 degree heat to reach the most important temple in the region. Doi Suthep temple was chockablock with Chinese tourists visiting for Chinese new year and deliberately ringing all the bells and gongs despite signs not to!

Finally, in the best interests of boosting readership numbers, every title will have a hook from something I am reading or have experienced. This time as I was patiently waiting for my banana crepe to be finished (total cost 40 baht/ ~ 1.06 euro), a gigantic cockroach entered the griddle stage-left and danced daintily across my almost finished crepe. Onto Siem Riep!


As the song goes:

I see girls,
Here there and everywhere,
Short skirts, long hair,
Love it when they walk yeah!

I love New Zealand in the summer. I have had a fantastic time and I’ll share some snippets.

Wandering the back streets of Parnell I came across a sight to stoke a man’s excitement so to speak. A fully restored and working steam engine puffing gently whilst enthusiasts clambered over the polished and gleaming black body. Suppressed titanic forces ready to be unleashed in order to fulfill the fantasies of an obsessive few. How cool is that? Two weddings and four life-long partners. Warms the cockles of my heart and fills my liver!

Sitting on the beach at Matapouri after a wedding. Maybe 3am. Satellites streaking the sky overhead, racing past never to be seen in the city. Glowing phosphorescence in the sea as I swirl my hands vigorously in the warm water. Parochial accents asking whether you want a hokey pokey or raspberry ripple-flavoured ice-cream. A place where drinking quarts of Bushmans out of a crate is acceptable. My favourite Chinese restaurant in Auckland, Canton, and the abusive staff. The sounds of the sizzle! My sisters engagement party and the realisation that I am gaining a brother which makes me very happy! Arguing over whether hanging a hogget for four days in the garage at a day time temperature 25 deg is a good idea. For future reference, attempting to spit roast something that has shades of green in it, is unwise. Reconnecting with the family and soaking up the sun. Swimming in the pool and relaxing with a beer in hand.

I am currently in London, spring weather with sunny skies. Heading to Belgium tomorrow via Chunnel then onto Amsterdam to seek my fortune.  I have created a stick for myself to assist me in the task of looking for work: “reject convention. It’s fucking conventional you idiot!” I trust the meaning is clear. Cheerio!

Crash! Landed in New Zealand just over three weeks ago.

It’s stunning. In both a visual and mental sense. The humidity, heat, shops that have changed, people that have not, familiarity of my own room, Wrangles same-same and a thousand and one people to see. I have reveled in the reconnections I’ve made with New Zealand. It truly is something you appreciate all the more once you return. New perspectives, noticing details you hadn’t deigned to see before, and giving greater credit to those aspects of your previous life you’d taken for granted. The peculiar shade of blue the atmosphere projects, the red glow of budding pohutukawa flowers, the burnt smell of rain on freshly laid tarseal, the familiar water pressure of your shower, the easy banter of long-standing friendships and the love in the fierce hugs of your family.

Since I have been back I have revisted the family bach in Whiritoa, Coromandel Peninsula, sweated and shimmied my way through AC/DC’s concert at Western Springs, thrown away three bins of crap from my parents house, seen the dentist, got a booster jab for my Hepatitis vaccinations, chilled out in Wellington with my sisters, congratulated my future brother-in-law with a manly hug and hugged my newly engaged sister, braved the masses at the Wellington Rugby Sevens afterparty in Courtney Place (NZ’s biggest party by far), massacred zombies at Willy’s stag party, cheered the bride and groom at Megan and William’s wedding (and admittedly drank a little too much), got a little tipsy at Ben’s stag party and am mentally preparing myself for the Matapouri wedding of the year,  saw Auckland fail during a bat-off in the 20/20 Cricket semi-final to the Central Stags, felt Avatar was awesome and also the movie-that-c(sh)ould have been, dropped into my old work and noted my delight in not working, lounged around the pool and languidly dipped my toes in as I supped a cold Tui in the summer sun, tut-tutted in various coffee catch-ups as long-delayed gossip finally reached my fertile ears and of course saw Tristan my erstwhile Asian travel companion and reminisced over all that Beer Lao, various shenanigans and the suckiness of being broke. Some pictures below from various places for your edification.